Northern Kentucky men’s soccer head coach John Basalyga announced his retirement on Tuesday following the conclusion of his 14th season at the helm of the program. Basalyga will stay with the program through the transition, as a national search for NKU’s next head coach will commence immediately.
“It has been a tremendous honor coaching at Northern Kentucky over the last 14 years,” said Basalyga. “I particularly want to thank my wife Linda and three children, Lindsay, Ryan and Courtney, for their support over the last 43 years. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’ve been blessed to coach some terrific young men along this journey and we enjoyed quite a bit of success on the pitch as well. I owe my college coaching career, which was always a dream of mine, to NKU Athletics and I will continue to be an ambassador for the Norse.”

“I want to thank John and his wife Linda for their dedication to NKU men’s soccer, Norse Athletics and the hundreds of student-athletes he has coached through the years,” said Ken Bothof, Director of Athletics. “John has given so much of himself to the student-athletes he coached and the men’s soccer program. He took an already successful program and built it into a national power at the Division II level before successfully making the transition to Division I, where he continued to have success. It is because of John’s work and love of Norse soccer that this program is positioned to continue ascending to new heights. ”
In his 14 seasons at Northern Kentucky, Basalyga became NKU’s winningest coach and amassed a career record of 161-88-38 for a .627 winning percentage. Most notably, Basalyga led the Norse to a 2010 NCAA Division II National Championship title, the first-ever national title for a men’s program at NKU.

Basalyga was named NKU’s third-ever head coach in 2003 and immediately began building and developing the program into a perennial power. After a four-win season in 2003, he led the Norse to post at least 11 wins across the next eight seasons before making the transition to NCAA Division I prior to the 2012 season.
He led the program to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006 in his third year at the helm. That year marked the first of six-straight NCAA postseason appearances from 2006 to 2011 – a span that also included three-straight Midwest Regional Championships from 2006 through 2008. The 2008 season also culminated in an NCAA Division II national semifinal appearance, as the Norse were consistently ranked as high as No. 1 nationally from 2007 through 2010.
Basalyga was named the Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 2007 after coaching the squad to a program-record 22 wins. He was again named the Regional Coach of the Year in 2010 along with Division II National Coach of the Year honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Under his guidance, NKU claimed its first Great Lakes Valley Conference championship in 15 seasons in 2010.
Basalyga coached 10 NSCAA All-Americans in his 14 seasons, including the NCAA Division II Player of the Year, Steven Beattie, in 2010.
Since transitioning to Division I in 2012, Basalyga has guided the Norse to 31 wins and a pair of conference postseason appearances. The squad advanced to the Atlantic Sun semifinals in 2014 and hosted a Horizon League quarterfinal match in 2015.
Under his guidance, the Norse have earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award in each of the last two seasons, which recognizes teams that post a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher for the entire academic year.
Prior to coaching at NKU, Basalyga served as the head boys’ soccer coach at Turpin High School in Cincinnati for 24 years.

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Melissa Powell,
Northern Kentucky University
Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant